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Research on the First Transport from Düsseldorf to Lodz

Angela Genger, Head of the Düsseldorf memorial centre, has been studying the first deportation transport leaving Düsseldorf for the destination of Lodz on 27 October 1941 on her visit to the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) at Bad Arolsen. In close cooperation with her colleagues, the historian has since 2004 dedicated her time and energy to compiling a commemorative book. “The ITS is a site with sources that will enormously enrich my research”, said Genger.

1,003 individuals from the Rhine area, men, women and children, were deported from Düsseldorf to Ghetto Lodz on 27 October 1941. Solely 16 of them survived the ghetto and concentration camps. “The commemorative book will include brief life stories of all the 1,003 deportees and their families. This is possible, because we have done research in the regional archives of their respective places of origin,” knows Genger. “We have also examined material for our research in Lodz, Israel and in the United States.”

The researcher wants to evaluate all documents that may shed light on the circumstances, the conditions of the deportation starting from the Düsseldorf Gestapo area. These include transport lists, Gestapo documents and files of the tax authorities. The entire material will be gathered and – together with personal memories, postcards and photos – compiled in a very special type of commemorative book. “Thanks to the opening of the ITS archives, we can now have a look at the documents in Arolsen as well,” rejoices Genger.

In 16 cases she has already gained additional information by examining entry lists, deportation lists and DP documents. First results of her work will be presented on the website of the working group of memorial centres in Northrhine-Westphalia. The commemorative book is expected to go into print still this year. For the coming year, Genger has plans to develop, together with her Cologne colleagues, a travelling exhibition for the whole north of the Rhineland.

The Düsseldorf memorial was opened in 1987 and has focussed ever since on telling the stories of the survivors and their families, on reconstructing or retracing local history as integral part of the overall history of National Socialism, on responding to requests filed by the succeeding generations, on doing educational work and on conceiving exhibitions and commemorative books. “To tackle the next projects on top of my agenda, I will come back to Arolsen,” anticipates Genger her plans. “I’m pleased to watch the ITS develop from visit to visit.”<a"opens href="http://www.ns-gedenkstaetten.de/nrw/index_startseite_de.html"></a"opens><//a>